Often considered part of the new Big 3, Jujutsu Kaisen takes everything good about the shounen before it, and does it better. The series especially stands out for its dark fantasy themes, supernatural elements, and of course, the action. There is also its treatment of female characters, avoiding the gender tropes so prevalent in shounen anime to portray a wide variety of female perspectives. Looking for similar anime? Here are the 10 best underrated shounen anime to watch if you like Jujutsu Kaisen!
10 Underrated Shounen Anime for Fans of Jujutsu Kaisen
- Ushio To Tora
Remember the initial relationship between Sukana and Yuji? Now imagine that but if Sukana was a softie who actually started helping Yuji. That’s the premise of Ushio To Tora. The anime centers around a young boy, Ushio Aotsuki and a supernatural tiger-like monster called Tora who follows him around.
Ushio accidentally frees Tora at the start of the series, but is able to keep him from devouring him. The two’s relationship starts as an antagonistic one, but as Tora agrees to help Ushio, the antagonism becomes more comical than anything. The anime is fast-paced with lots of good action and plenty of funny scenes as the ancient tiger-like demon tries to adapt to modern life.
- Devilman Crybaby
Based on Go Nagai’s Devilman, Devilman Crybaby follows High school student Akira Fudo who becomes a Devilman after being possessed by a powerful demon named Amon. Not too different from Yuji gaining cursed energy via Sukana’s possession of him, no? The major difference, however, is that unlike Yuji, Akira completely absorbs Amon for access to all his powers.
The story then follows Akira’s childhood friend Ryo Asuka’s attempts to expose the existence of demons while protecting Akira’s secret, with plenty of twists along the way. Much like Jujutsu Kaisen, Devilman Crybaby is also a dark fantasy. The anime features a lot of graphic violence and adult content, making it a must-watch for any dark fantasy fan.
- Fire Force
Another dark fantasy like Jujutsu Kaisen, Fire Force features a post-apocalyptic world with few habitable areas after “The Great Cataclysm” set everything on fire. Almost 200 years after this incident, the Fire Force fights “Infernals”, humans made into living infernos via spontaneous human combustion.
The anime follows Shinra Kusakabe, who’s a third generation pyrokinetic with the ability to ignite his feet at will. This leads him to join Special Fire Force Company 8 made up of other pyrokinetics. While there, Shinra learns that his presumed-dead brother was actually kidnapped by a doomsday cult called the White Clad. Now they’re after him to redo the Great Cataclysm for an ancient being.
- D gray man
Katsura Hoshino’s D.Gray-man takes place in an alternate 19th century where exorcists fight to protect humanity against demons called Akuma. This premise is already similar to Jujutsu Kaisen’s, except Akuma are artificial creatures made by the Millennium Earl.
In contrast to Jujutsu Kaisen’s sorcerers’ use of cursed energy, D.Gray-man’s exorcists fight using sentient holy artifacts called Innocence. The titular character Allen Walker starts by working with other Black Order exorcists to search for Innocence, but things quickly become complicated as the series continues.
- Soul Eater
Are you a fan of Jujutsu Kaisen’s school setting and looking for something similar? Soul Eater is a shounen anime set at the Death Weapon Meister Academy or DWMA. This is a school for humans that can transform into weapons and their Meisters who can wield them.
The anime follows Meister Maka Albarn and her scythe partner, Soul “Eater” Evans, on their journey to have Soul ‘eat’ the souls of 99 evil humans and one witch to turn into a “death scythe”. This is quite similar to Jujutsu Kaisen, only Yuji consumes Sukana’s fingers instead of souls and doesn’t turn into a cool weapon.
Featuring alchemists, demons, and immortals, Baccano! is a highly underrated 16-episode anime based on Ryohgo Narita’s award-winning light novels by the same name. The anime follows a non-linear storyline with lots of interesting characters and has a good mix of drama, adventure, action, and fantasy.
Much like Jujutsu Kaisen, many Baccano! characters are highly eccentric, like the assassin Vino or the nonsensical thief duo Isaac and Miria. The anime even features immortals reminiscent of Jujutsu Kaisen’s Master Tengen, except Baccano!’s immortals do not age or evolve beyond the point they became immortal.
Dororo follows the mysterious warrior Hyakkimaru as he travels with a young Dororo in Sengoku era Japan. Hyakkimaru had his organs and limbs sacrificed to demons as a newborn. Now, much like Yuji and his fellow sorcerers’ quest to collect all of Sukana’s fingers, Hyakkimaru is on a journey to regain his body by fighting and killing these demons.
Much like Jujutsu Kaisen, Dororo also falls in the dark fantasy genre, although the former has more adventure elements while Dororo is more of an action fiction. There’s also a parallel between Dororo’s Hyakkimaru and Jujutsu Kaisen’s Mechamaru, as both have weak/damaged bodies and must rely on prosthetics to fight.
- Yu Yu Hakusho
While not exactly underrated, Yu Yu Hakusho is a great retro shounen anime centered on a teenage delinquent named Yusuke Urameshi. Despite his troubled past, Yusuke has a soft side, much like Jujutsu Kaisen’s protagonist Yuji Itadori. After Yusuke dies trying to protect a kid from a car accident, he enters the afterlife where he is named the Spirit Detective and sent back.
This opening is very similar to Jujutsu Kaisen’s, with both Yuji and Yusuke being sucked into the world of supernatural creatures due to circumstances beyond their control. And while Yusuke’s new position is initially about investigating cases concerning demons and spirits, the anime quickly transitions into a more fighting-oriented one.
- Shaman King
A supernatural adventure like Jujutsu Kaisen, Shaman King follows the medium Yoh Asakura on his quest to become the Shaman King capable of channeling the Great Spirit. To do this, Yoh must win the Shaman Fight, a tournament held once every 500 years.
While this anime is very different from Jujutsu Kaisen on the surface, thanks to its tournament style, fans of the Kyoto Goodwill Event arc will find it to be a very enjoyable watch nonetheless. The series features lots of interesting characters, imaginative plot twists, and nonstop action which will have any shounen fan hooked.
- Blue Exorcist
In the world of Blue Exorcist, demons possess living beings to hide unnoticed among humans. But like Jujutsu Kaisen, there are Exorcists who can see and destroy these demons. The story follows Rin Okumura, who, along with twin brother Yukio Okumura, is the son of Satan. Neither care much for that fact, with Rin seeking revenge against Satan for the death of their adoptive father.
Set in a school setting, the anime has plenty of adventure and dark fantasy elements. The main character’s origins are also reminiscent of Jujutsu Kaisen’s Yuji, who doesn’t have the most conventional parentage either and gained his power by getting possessed by the King of Curses Sukana.
- This article was updated on October 12th, 2023